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Old 26th July 2021, 17:06   #31
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Originally Posted by SchrödingersCar View Post
One thing Indian tanks need (based on information available in Public Domain) is APS systems like the Israeli Trophy or Russian Afghanit.
With ECM and ECCM being a constant race, and also vulnerable to espionage, APS systems can provide excellent protection to tanks.

Also, not sure if India uses DU rounds in its APFSDS penetrators. Use of DU heavily increases penetration and power of these rounds.
AFAIK the 3BM32, 42 series 125mm smooth bores are DU capable.

Originally Posted by lsjey View Post
Nice topic. Glad to know about the tanks. I've been hearing about light, medium and heavy tanks. There were reports that Indian army lacks medium tanks for deployment in ladakh.

Can experts shed light on the classification of the light, medium and heavy tanks? I kinda assume that this classification refers to the amount of armor protection. Which category does the MBT belong to?

Cracks knuckles...I mean military tactics is not a subject that comes up frequently here now.

An MBT means Main Battle Tank and would pre 1957 have been classified as Medium or Heavy tanks.

Leaving aside the classification that emerged in WW1 (As they aren't relevant to us), in WW2 a distinct pattern emerged.

Tanks are typically used in many roles.

1 - Infantry Support. This is when tanks advance with an infantry unit, providing both fire support, fire suppression and cover.

2 - Recon. These are the ultra light armoured tanks that move very fast and used to scout enemy positions or enemy armour

3 - Amphibious assaults

The above 2 roles were covered by light tanks.

At the start of the war though, all tanks were pretty much light. The German Panzer Mk 1 & 2, the American M2 Stuarts, the Japanese type 95 Ha Go (don't laugh, it literally was the Hago )

Then an arms race began, with countries slapping more armour and powerful guns, to counter it the Russians very cleverly adopted a sloped armour (this deflects most of the kinetic energy of a shell) but the others who lacked this technology simply kept slapping armour.

Distinct roles began to emerge.

Already covered the role of light tanks

Medium tanks were your "MBT's", the Panthers, the Panzer Mk4's, the Shermans and THE ABSOLUTE war winner, the T34. These were your workhorse tanks. They were a combination of fast, heavily armoured and had a solid punch.

Heavy tanks were the defensive backbone (or in rare cases like in the Battle of Kursk, used as an offensive weapon). These were super heavy, not very mobile (and in the case of the German Tiger and Konigstiger, prone to breakdowns - over engineering was a big problem) but rock solid. In many cases they were sent to a portion of the front under attack, dug in (till the hull) and then became a rock solid defensive point.

Tanks were classified basis weight, and still are. The weight comes from the armour and gun but mostly the armour. So a thinly armoured tank would trade safety for mobility while a heavy tank would trade mobility for well...being a literal tank.

However post 1957, these classifications became redundant. You had one master of all trades called the MBT (which was the WW2 equivalent of a medium + heavy tank). You still had and have specialist tanks like a flame thrower tank, bridge laying tank, mine sweeper and the light tank.

The need for a fast moving recon, arty observing, infantry supporting light tank remains.

Now why do we need this in the Himalayas?

2 reasons,

A lot of bridges have to be crossed and many of these do not have the ability to bear the 45 tonnes that our T90's weigh.

The mountain passes with snow drifts, gradients etc are not conducive to these beasts of war also.

India though has been obsessed by our western neighbour, and the desert is an ideal environment to operate MBT's (heavy + medium), so we never had a light tank doctrine (armies have doctrines according to which equipment is purchased and used). Though we used light tanks in the 47 war brilliantly. Gen Thimaya surprised Pakistani raiders by airlifting light tanks and then setting them loose where they never expected it.

We used light tanks to brilliant effect again in 1962 (French AMX's), but since then the IA has been obsessed like the German army of WW2, with heavy tanks.

But the latest border issue has woken up our command to the need for a light (15 tonnes) tank to patrol the high Himalayas.

Last edited by Aditya : 26th July 2021 at 19:58. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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Old 26th July 2021, 22:49   #32
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Default Re: Battle Tanks used by the Indian Army

Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
[*]Do we still need multi fuel engines today? In case we run out of diesel at the front, are we likely to have any substitute fuel in required quantities? What will it be? [/list]
The M1 Abrams is famous for not having a traditional ICE powerplant, instead it relies on a gas turbine. While immensely thirsty, one of the benefits to it, is that really it can run on any combustible fuel in theory (I believe there is a running joke in the armoured command that they could get it to run it on used fry oil if push came to shove).

Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
The classifications however dragged into the 1950s as the French, Soviet and American armies developed light tanks for coping with mountainous terrain or air transportability or making them amphibious. But as things evolved through the 1960s the designs converged to one universal main battle tank with enough armour to see it through almost all combat including some tank on tank frontal engagements and the most powerful cannon possible {to hit the baddies hard at the longest range} and that's where we are today. The tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) like the Sarath , Warrior, Bradley, BMP-3 have become the light tanks of today. As member SchrodingersCar has explained we now have different categories or armoured vehicles other than MBTs - self propelled guns, bridge layers etc.
During the Vietnam War the Americans developed the M551 Sheridan, a light tank specifically designed to be airdropped into the country by parachute. Interestingly it's stubby little main gun was geared to fire both conventional ammunition and guided missiles.

Anyway, coming back to the whole categorisation of armoured vehicles, all I need to add is MISSION CREEP. And what better way to demonstrate the perils of mission creep *******ising a platform from it's original clip than the ever salient and painfully real Pentagon Wars. I highly recommend watching the clip because it's the perfect encapsulation of how so many military programmes have been waylaid by overambitious mission planners and end users not staying focused..

Originally Posted by Reinhard View Post
Not just this - the Merkava with its engine in front - can actually carry additional 6 armed soldiers in the rear compartment which also has the rear hatches. Effectively - its a potent frontline tank + an APC that can directly & safely deploy armed soldiers exactly where needed. A very unique combination.
Merkava in Hebrew means chariot as far as I'm aware. Fittingly enough the engine is mounted at the front of the chassis, where the horses would've been as IDF personnel tend to joke. The Merkava is very much unique in the MBT world because it reflects its rather unique circumstances. The IDF set out from the outset to build a tank that was uniquely tailored to their own needs (feeling the tanks it had operated till then were not adaptable enough for their requirements), operating in the deserts of the Sinai; the mountainous Golan Heights; and not to mention the crowded urban environments. As such a lot of the features on the Merkava were a result of those end use scenarios, and much like Windows 10 was originally set out to be the final, continually updated version of Windows, the Merkava has been endlessly updated through the years. I think the Israelis were one of the first to jerry rig the weighted chains hanging off the edges of the turret to protect the vulnerable join between it and the main chassis.

I've often wondered how come the Merkava hasn't seen much export success and it comes down to it's origins. That tailor made design to IDF requirements has meant it hasn't appealed to the more typical usage scenarios your armoured command leaders would be looking at.

In closing I'll share some photos I've managed to take of tanks I've spotted in recent years:

Battle Tanks used by the Indian Army-img20210523wa0018.jpg
A tan T-55 you'll encounter if you were to visit the Imperial War Museum North in Salford (I really need to get around to posting some of the other photos from my trip there..)

Battle Tanks used by the Indian Army-20190601_145210.jpg
If anyone finds themselves wandering around the suburbs of Manchester (Didsbury if you're really keen) you'll come across this APC belonging to rather an eccentric gent. It has a road certificate and is just one amongst the many in his collection. I also happen to know he used to go on a night out in town with it for birthdays!
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Old 27th July 2021, 10:08   #33
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Default Re: Battle Tanks used by the Indian Army

Originally Posted by Stribog View Post
AFAIK the 3BM32, 42 series 125mm smooth bores are DU capable.
Yes, they may be DU capable but from what I read earlier, and based on publicly available knowledge, India uses Tungsten alloy penetrators and not DU for the APFSDS shells, which are being license made here now.

There are a few Russian shells (3BM46/3BM59/3BM69) that use DU, but AFAIK India does not use/have them.

Quoting from another Link
These shells are 125 mm round with an armor-piercing sub-caliber round for use with the T-72 and T-90 tanks in service with the Indian Army. Known as 3VBM17/3BM42 (3BM44 Mango), the shells entered service with Russian military in 1986 and uses a tungsten alloy core sheathed in steel as the projectile to pierce the armour of the enemy tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Arjun uses domestically designed and produced 120mm APFSDS shells, and as per DRDO, this also uses Tungsten alloy penetrator.
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